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American Gods

by on May 23, 2011

I recently finished The Journey Home, the story of one man’s search for God. I like books in this genre, plus, the author will be lecturing in DC in June.

Radhanath Swami’s search for God reminds me of my general fascination with how people find their god, in a way. It’d probably be nice if I could say I’d always had a thirst for finding God, or following a god, but that’s not true. I’ve been fascinated by the stories. In elementary school it was Greek mythology, middle school was other ancient and pagan religions, and high school I was fascinated by separatists from the world (Amish in particular). And of course, I celebrated Jewish holidays mostly K-12 because they were fun (Purim!).

But mm, that’s not exactly an honorable quest like that of Radhanath Swami…

But another book I read recently used the conceit that people really do pick and choose their god(s). Man, what if that were true? If you believe God manifests differently to everyone … then theoretically, can’t you just  … choose for yourself? Like, if certain things don’t work for you, go with what does?

… I think that’s not quite true. And online dating (even not for gods) tends to be pretty tiring anyway. But that’s what it almost feels like when I want to go check out a new religion to see what it’s about, listen to someone proselytize, or generally do what I’m doing, which is kind of coasting along without much of a clue.

“and it is possible that many religions are moderately true.” …. “But we,” responded Chang dreamily, “are only MODERATELY certain.” – Lost Horizon

Ultimately though, I suppose, before you have a god (or even perhaps after), your god is whatever you give power too … hence many religions’ condemnation of idolatry. In Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, that’s just such the case, except people actually DO give power to their gods – and they fight over it (great book, btw). So maybe I’m still looking, or maybe it doesn’t matter too much, but I do know I enjoy looking into these sorts of things, and I always learn something.

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